Bears draft Notre Dame, St. Viator alum Cole Kmet in Round 2

The Bears did not have a first-round pick this year as a result of the Khalil Mack trade.

SHARE Bears draft Notre Dame, St. Viator alum Cole Kmet in Round 2
Boston College v Notre Dame

Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet celebrates scoring against Boston College.

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Bears didn’t go far to find their next tight end, drafting St. Viator and Notre Dame alum Cole Kmet in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.

The 6-foot-6, 262-pound Kmet grew up a Bears fan. He’s young — Kmet turned 21 in March — and has room to grow. He left Notre Dame a year early after catching 43 passes for 515 yards last year. He spent two years on the baseball team and served as the Irish’s closer as a freshman, but gave up the sport to focus on football.

He said at the NFL Scouting Combine that he was well-aware of the Bears’ need at tight end.

“ I know they’ve been looking for a tight end to fit in the room,” he said. “And I know they just signed Jimmy [Graham], and I think I’m a little different type of player than Jimmy in terms of how I play and how I can be used.

“I know that coach [Matt] Nagy likes to use tight ends in his offense, and he’s looking for tight ends that can go in and compete and be able to execute his offense. So I know it was a need and I’m really excited to get in there and get going.”

The White Sox considered drafting him out of high school, even hosting him for a workout at what was then U.S. Cellular Field. Now, he gets to stay home and play a different sport — as the first tight end selected in the draft.

“I worked out for them and they definitely entertained the possibility of them wanting to pick me up in the draft if I wanted to do that,” he said.” But at the end of the day, I wanted to still play football. And I wanted to still play baseball at Notre Dame.”

The Bears created an opening at the position exactly a week ago when they cut Trey Burton, who spent most of 2019 injured. They signed starter Jimmy Graham to a two-year, $16 million deal with $9 million guaranteed last month. The Bears have 10 tight ends on their roster, the most in the league.

Kmet watched the draft from his parents’ home in Arlington Heights.

For the second-straight year, the Bears did not have a first-round pick this year as a result of the Khalil Mack trade. They entered Friday night with two first-round picks: at No. 43 and 50.

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